Slate takes a look at the popularity and the various spellings of “whoa“:

“Whoa” is hardly a new word; it dates back to at least the early 17th century. At that time it was used mostly in shouted form and was intended to garner the attention of someone in the distance. Around the the mid-1800s, people began using “whoa” to halt forward-moving horses, and by the latter half of the 20th century it had morphed into an expression for conveying alarm, surprise, or advanced interest.

Based on my usage, I am 100% behind the “whoa” spelling. The others just look wrong.

August 10, 2015

NPR’s My Big Break interviewed Steve McCurry about his iconic photo “The Afghan Girl”:

But Gula didn’t give McCurry much time to work. Just as soon as he captured a few images, she got up and left to chat with her friends.

“And that was it,” McCurry says. “I didn’t know exactly what I had. This was pre-digital and it was … almost two months before I got back and actually saw the developed film.”

The whole My Big Break series is good, including The Man Behind ‘The Most Interesting Man’ Is Interesting, Too. Shocking.

July 27, 2015

The Onion published a satirical news story “U.S. Soothes Upset Netanyahu With Shipment Of Ballistic Missiles“, and about a day later, reports started surfacing that that may have actually happened.

Whatever the truth of the matter, Haaretz, the paper of Israeli doves and liberals, reckons that when life apparently imitates satire so faithfully, it’s generally not a good sign.

My favorite The Onion stories are the ones where you’re not sure if they are true or satire; like this one about Donald Trump. Totally believable.

July 21, 2015

To draw attention to the pay gap, where, on average, women get $0.77 for every dollar that men get paid, a bar charged women only 77% of their tab.

“This is certainly price discrimination based on gender,” said Patricia McCoy, a law professor at Boston College. “Whether it is illegal price discrimination is unclear. Some states prohibit price discrimination based on gender, while others do not. Whatever else, certainly what the bar is doing is provocative and guaranteed to draw attention.”

The New York City department of consumer affairs did not respond to a request for comment as to whether this would constitute price discrimination in New York.

Who cares what they charge, it’s got a TARDIS bathroom!

July 15, 2015

At a recent performance of Hand To God, an audience member climbed on stage and plugged his iPhone into a fake outlet on the set. An audience member wrote:

[…] The crew had to stop the precook music, remove the cellphone, and make an announcement as to why you can’t do that. Truly. I am a quiet and reserved person and I took great joy in loudly heckling the idiot when he returned to take his phone back. Moron. Has theatre etiquette–heck, Common Sense–[really] fallen that far??”

Einstein once said, “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”

July 7, 2015

Little Red Lighthouse

July 5, 2015 at 2:00pm • Zero comments

Time Out New York gives us their list of the best movies from the ’80s.

Action movies, sci-fi thrillers and horror classics all emerge from this decade, as does a corporate slickness that marks the era’s entertainments (often charmingly). Still, it’s undeniable that the ’80s produced some major films, important and influential. Sometimes these were huge summer blockbusters, sometimes they were new things called “indies.” All of them add up to an essential picture of a transitional decade.

And I’m sure that most of them will be, or already have been, fodder for remakes or reboots, because Hollywood is all out of original ideas.

June 29, 2015

Astronomers from Texas State University and Iowa State University analyzed the iconic V-J Day in Times Square and pinpointed the exact time the photo was taken.

“Every tall building in Manhattan acts like the gnomon of a sundial,” the authors explain in the article.

[…]

By working out what structure caused the shadow, the scientists could compute the sun’s position, and thus the time the photo was taken. With a topographical analysis of Manhattan’s layout at the time, they concluded that the shadow was cast by a sign atop the Hotel Astor and across the intersection from the Loew’s Building.

I like to imagine that the astronomers were wearing a deerstalker and smoking a pipe while working this out.

June 27, 2015

In light of today’s Supreme Court decision, the Washington Post published an infographic showing the states where same-sex marriage is now legal.

June 26, 2015

Vulture has ranked every episode of Seinfeld.

In the interest of both helping novices prioritize and reminding veterans about forgotten jewels, we’ve ranked every episode in the series from worst to best. The ratings are based less on cultural significance — you’ll find many recognizable episodes fairly low on the list — and more on the density and quality of jokes, the inclusion of multiple strong narrative arcs, and, to a lesser extent, how well the comedy and stories have aged.

For personal reasons, I haven’t watched Seinfeld in about 6 years, but after watching Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and the cast sort of reunite on Curb Your Enthusiasm, I think I’m ready to start watching it again.

June 25, 2015